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If There Is A Heaven, Sigur Rós Plays There Regularly

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



When the crowd erupted in one of the biggest applauses I have ever seen, I knew I was not alone in feeling that I had just experienced something truly profound. Sigur Rós, Iceland’s greatest musical treasure besides maybe Björk, returned to the stage of Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom to bow to the crowd and thank them. They deserved every clap, every whistle, every sign of affection being displayed towards them. They had just taken us to the highest levels of musical Nirvana. Performances this amazing come about as often as a total lunar eclipse, and are no less phenomenal.

Sigur Rós’ albums have always acted like ethereal dreamscapes. They are powerful and moving, but nowhere near as explosive as what they displayed last night.  Each song, from opener “Svefn-g-englar” to encore “Popplagi” was filled with such grandeur that it almost felt like an overload.

Only inches from the stage for the first 3 songs, documenting the performance, I felt like Icarus. Surely I was flying too close.

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Unicycle Loves You, I Love You.

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



Some bands explore new territory, almost questioning what music is and changing the musical landscape forever, while others devour the past and turn the old ideas into something new. The best artists are almost always well-versed in their musical history, knowing all that came before them. Originality is nearly impossible without a comprehension of what has already been done, which is why bands usually sound derivative when their influences and/or abilities are limited.

When listening to Chicago's Unicycle Loves You's self-titled debut, it's pretty clear that this is the product of a band that's spent a lot of time listening to the best music of every era, picking apart exactly what makes each thing great.

Sure, we all know that The Pixies, The Cars, New Pornographers, The Beatles, The Kinks, and Belle & Sebastian have made some really great music, but it's evident that Unicycle Loves You fully comprehends exactly what made each of these artists great. Not only do they understand it, but they have the brains and chops to be able recreate that magic, blending/shifting between each of these influences flawlessly, while maintaining a singularly cohesive product.

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Listen to: Hawaii! by Unicycle Loves You

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It Can’t Possibly Be Worse Than “Make Believe,” Right?

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts

Back in 2005 when Weezer released Make Believe, expectations were still high despite the fact that Maladroit was a bit of a let down for most fans. Indie tastemakers Pitchfork gave the album a rating of 0.4 and pointed out the similarities between the melody of “We Are All on Drugs” and the “Diarrhea” song. Maybe such a low rating was a bit harsh, but those of us who grew up with Weezer knew what the band was capable, and despite a few good songs, Make Believe was trash.

A few years have passed, and that bad taste is finally gone, but the expectations are still incredibly low. When the artwork for Weezer’s latest album leaked earlier this year, no one was quite sure if it was a joke. The band had returned to the cover art theme of their brilliant debut “Blue Album” and immensely popular “Green Album.” This untitled album quickly referred to as the “Red Album” features a simple portrait of the band in which Rivers Cuomo is decked out in cowboy attire, and sporting a pretty white trash ‘stache. Along with the news of the new record was the announcement of the new single “Pork & Beans.” Again, it seemed like Cuomo and Co. were playing with the music media, and all of this would be revealed as a hoax.

But here we are weeks after the album release, and the art is exactly what they said it’d be, and “Pork & Beans” is streaming on countless iPods everywhere.

At 25 years old, I am from the generation who most fully experienced the best days of Weezer...

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Neo Teppen Recaptures The Kaiju Championship Belt

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts



Our hero, Neo Teppen, looked like a failure. Uchu Chu had mopped the floor with him and was just making a mockery of the fight, when suddenly Neo Teppen regained some strength and turned the fight around, flying across the ring with a great agility. Soon enough Uchu Chu was on the mat, being pinned, and the Championship Belt was again in Neo Teppen's possession.

Who's Neo Teppen? What's an Uchu Chu? And what Championship is this?

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Apes & Androids Join Forces With Abominable Snowmen At Bowery Ballroom

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



After having confetti poured onto us, and being hit in the head a million times with green glowing balls/orbs, Apes & Androids summoned two Abominable snowman-looking creatures into the crowd. The two white monsters were each led by a scantily clad woman with a hula-hoop. In no time, there was a choir, 2 hula-hoopers and the band all on stage,  two dancing beasts in the crowd, and a pile more confetti falling from the sky.

Apes & Androids sure know how to entertain a crowd. The theatrics of this Brooklyn five-piece have made them a favorite in the local scene, and get bigger and better with every show. Headlining the Bowery Ballroom on Friday night, the band packed the house. Selling out the Bowery Ballroom definitely proves that Apes & Androids are quickly on the rise.

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The New Darker Islands

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



When the girl wearing the head-gear outside Webster Hall came up to me and told me I looked like a Newsy, I knew it was gonna be a weird night. She and a mass of intentionally nerdy looking kids were on their way to 80s Prom Night. I wasn't.

A few minutes later I was inside Webster Hall, anticipating Islands first NYC performance since the release of their new album "Arm's Way." On the stage was a band named The Magic, who should have been playing for 80s Prom Night instead. They looked and sounded like an retro 80s indie cliche. They even had the really cute chick who's seemingly there more as eye candy than her simple keyboard additions, and the lead singer immediately put the name Rick Astley in my head.

It would obviously be worth waiting for with Islands up next. The last 2 times I had seen them were at unconventional venues, and were 2 of the most fun shows I've been to in the last few years.

Taking the stage, front man Nick Thornburn (Diamonds) had his face painted like a mime. The band quickly began with "Arm's Way," the opening track of their new album. The mood of the night seemed much different than past Islands shows, with the band focusing primarily on their darker sophomore release. The songs are far less immediate than those on "Return to the Sea." "It's a grower" stated the somber Thornburn, who seems to be going through a rough time in his life. His songs were always about death, but this time their not always as light.

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Fire Marshal Delays Snowden Concert

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



We were waiting patiently for Atlanta rockers Snowden to return to the stage to begin their set, when a voice came over the speaker asking the crowd to be quiet. The chatter of the crowd continued on. Without having a face, or giving a reason for his request, the voice had a difficult task ahead of him. Eventually the crowd silenced as it was announced that a fire marshal would need to check if Mercury Lounge was beyond capacity. Surely enough, the man behind the mysterious voice filtered through the crowd, quickly counting the heads of the considerably polite audience. Soon enough, all the heads were counted and Snowden was able to take the stage, with lead singer Jordan Jeffares thanking the crowd for being patient. We were all lucky that there weren’t too many of us, because that surely would have been a problem, and probably wouldn’t have gotten to see Snowden’s great set.

After all of the hullabaloo, Snowden rapidly made everyone forget about the extended wait, starting with a sped up version of “Bullets.” For the second night in a row, a NYC crowd not known for dancing was again moving their feet and shaking their hips. The ultra catchy post punk songs from their debut record “Anti-Anti,” played like a poppier Interpol. A good amount of promising new material made its way into the set, but favorites like “Anti-Anti” and “Filler is Wasted” were the highlights of the set. Bassist Corinne Lee, whose bass lines are often the band’s greatest strength, played with an excellent fury that gave the performance an extra jolt to make it quite memorable.

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The Heavy Gets The Ladies Wet At Union Pool

Written by Jonny-Leather on . Posted in Music, Posts



Dancing turned to grinding, grinding turned to intensely making out, then their hands became more and more active, more and more skin started show, and by the time the set ended they seemed destined to fuck right then and right there. It didn’t happen, but this interaction between a couple to the front right side of the stage seemed like a strong testament to the type of sexy rock & soul music The Heavy create.

Hailing from the small town of Noid in southwest England, The Heavy have added their name to the current retro-soul invasion being led by the success of Gnarles Barkley, Amy Winehouse, and Sharon Jones.  Much like Gnarles Barkley they sound like they’ve worn out all the grooves on their “Superfly” record, but The Heavy rocks harder than any of the other retro-soul acts.

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